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Seattle Zen: The Farmer's Market (Part 1)

The summer farmer’s market  takes place in Puyallup’s town square. At least the grassy area that should  be the town square if it weren’t already named Pioneers Park. The scene there is quite different from when I arrived in February. Most notably there is this warm ,hot, yellow, thing in the sky. If it weren’t for the big,yellow hot thing in the sky, the most notable thing  would be  people. In Washington State there are 25,319 different nouns for rain and none for the warm, hot, yellow thing in the sky. Naming it, as  the Pre-Kurtian  Seattle natives say, would only bring sorrow when it leaves and does not come back.

During the winter months in Seattle there is a noticeable lack of people. Tumbleweeds bounce lazily down the street, houses are a depressing color landing somewhere in the spectrum of gray and dark gray, and pretty much the only moving things on the street are  zombies who were left over from the great nuclear zombie apocalypse of  1998 . The only signs of life are tourists taking pictures of the original Starbucks at Pike’s Place in downtown Seattle and three  bears that have laid dominion over Washington’s  “other city” ,Tacoma.

But in the summer things change. A respite from the winter rains draws people outside and they stay outside, a lot. One would almost imagine that by watching these people outside that at one point in human history mankind a) socialize d and b) didn’t have internet The brilliant greens from the trees seems to fuel people as they go about there. Mount Reiner stands majestically and seems to follow you wherever you go along Puget Sound. Even the houses spring to life.

People in Puyallup sit on their porches or are outside playing with children and doing yard work. In the local parks in the evening there is the refreshing “clang” of aluminum bats and occasional “crack” of wooden bats as coaches teach young boys and girls of the sacred art of hitting a baseball. Both boys and girls play baseball here. Parents sit on the sidelines in theory to watch their children or cheer them on, but mainly they chat with their friends and barbeque, even on weeknights/

But the real fun is the weekend when the people in Puyallup migrate down to the town square, Pioneers Square, for the farmer’s market. When I first read the posters I envisioned row upon row  of wooden stalls with farmers selling everything from the fresh coffee the milked from cows earlier that day to fresh organically grown vegetable with farmers reminiscing about the glory days of Haight  Ashbury street with any of the voices in their heads that cared to listen.

What I saw instead was people selling everything from pizza and exotic foods from various food trucks to tie dyes and homemade crafts. Business seemed brisk but not rushed. The stall owners took time to chat with customers , customers were not only allowed, but encouraged to take their time. Very few people where chatting on the cell phones and those who were having brief conversations mainly to give instructions on where they were or what needed to be picked up.

The crowd was notably homogenous in the fact it remained zombie free. However you had everything from bikers walking Chihuahuas to young couples to teenagers with these bizarre things in their ears that seemed to be better suited on some plumbing..  One woman came up to one of the bikers and struck up a conversation about his dog and buy the end the biker had convinced the boyfriend, a soldier stationed in the nearby army base, to visit his electronics store.  Even I had a quest, one actually not involving napping or taking over the world, dealing more specifically with finding Italian ice.